Brewers: Early 2021 Trade Target, 1B Jesus Aguilar

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The revolving door of first basemen has continued in 2021 for the Milwaukee Brewers. Keston Hiura moving to first and Daniel Vogelbach seemed to be the answer before the season began.

It has not produced the results the Brewers need so far. Hiura has played first base for 21 games, Vogelbach for 26, Travis Shaw for 11 and Billy McKinney nine. Some of those appearances were switches in-game.

Keston is currently in Triple-A. Vogelbach’s average is just over .200 and he only has three home runs as a power hitter. McKinney is cooling down after a hot start and Shaw is our primary third baseman. If the Brewers acquire a shortstop or third baseman and want Shaw to play first it should be fine, but it’s not his main position.

No one wants to see players like Vogelbach or McKinney DFA’d. But Milwaukee needs an offensive spark and a solution at first base for the 2021 season. If Hiura returns from the minor leagues and continues to struggle, the team will need a solid first baseman to have a chance at the postseason.

That is why Stearns can reverse his 2019 trade that sent Jesus Aguilar away and bring back a solid first baseman and Brewers clubhouse favorite.

When you think about David Stearns swinging and missing on a trade, Jesus Aguilar is basically the one everyone brings up. After an amazing 2018 season, the All-Star infielder was only hitting .225 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs around the trade deadline.

Not terrible numbers, but Eric Thames was playing well and the Brewers wanted some pitching depth for a playoff run, especially with players like Mike Moustakas and Yasmani Grandal on the team as one-year rentals.

Milwaukee ended up trading Aguilar to the Tampa Bay Rays for reliever/starter Jake Faria. Faria only pitched in nine games for the Crew. He ended with a 0-1 record, ERA of 11.42, gave up three home runs and surrendered five walks with less than nine innings of work.

Faria was DFA’d on January 10th, 2020 and eventually released by the Brewers in September 2020.

While neither team found much success is the trade, Aguilar eventually found a home with the Miami Marlins. He is a perfect trade candidate for a first baseman.

Aguilar played 37 games with the Rays. He ended with a .261 and only four more home runs and 16 RBIs. He was DFA’d by the team in November of 2019.

A few days later, the Miami Marlins came calling and claimed No. 24 off of waivers. During the shortened 2020 season of 60 games, Aguilar played in 51 of them. He batted .277 with an OPS of .809. He had eight home runs and 34 RBIs, the exact amount that he had with the Brewers before he was traded.

Aguilar is off to a great start in 2021 as well. He has 38 hits with under 150 at-bats and a .273 average so far. He already has nine home runs and 32 RBIs, the latter of which currently leads the National League and is tied for 7th overall among all MLB teams.

His nine home runs has him tied for 11th in the NL as well. Milwaukee’s highest player is tied for 27th – that would be Avisail Garcia with six. The Brewers could use that batting average, not to mention those home runs and RBIs, right now.

Jesus Aguilar seems like the perfect trade candidate. The issue is what Miami would want in return.

Aguilar is arguably one of Miami’s best players right now. He has found another home with the Marlins, and watching him play against Milwaukee was bittersweet. The man knows how to play well and enjoy himself while doing it. More players should be doing that.

Miami signed Aguilar to a one-year, $4.35MM deal this offseason and will have one more year of arbitration in 2022, so a trade would be more than just a rental. The question is what the Brewers could provide to the Marlins for one of their best players. Miami is currently five games below .500, and if they stay that way or get worse, they could be looking to trade.

The Marlins are definitely on the upswing. They have a Top 5 farm system, and players like Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Trevor Rogers are a good start to a rebuild. They also have an outfield that could improve. Starling Marte, Corey Dickerson, and Adam Duvall are playing decent, but Lewis Brinson and Garrett Cooper could use competition or an upgrade.

It would be up to the Marlins what route they would want to go. Would they take someone like Billy McKinney or Corey Ray? McKinney could play first behind Duvall, who would probably move over to that position if Aguilar was gone. To continue their rebuild, they would most certainly want some prospects as well.

There is a chance they might be hesitant to trade with Milwaukee, though. Last time that happened, we took a certain outfielder away that ended up winning MVP.

Bringing back Aguilar would be a dream for Milwaukee and its fanbase. Everyone loved having him on the team. They still miss his walk over to the camera in the dugout and the side-eye he gave after a big home run.

It fills a position of need, and would bring Aguilar back to Milwaukee for the next few years. The pressure is then off of Hiura, who can then rotate between first and second base. The talent is there, and improving the offensive side of things is what the Brewers need right now.

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Even if Aguilar doesn’t continue his pace, he is one of the best options for first base out there this year for Milwaukee. Bringing him back to the clubhouse would check a lot of boxes.